Our Story

Youth In Motion began as a grassroots, Ontario based non-profit organization in 1997 and, after requests from all provinces for program expansion, the organization quickly grew to become a national charitable organization in 2002. With offices in Toronto and Calgary, our purpose is to develop and implement dynamic programs for youth.


Youth In Motion founder, Akela Peoples had a vision to create some engaging, inspiring and educational programs for youth to assist them in choosing a rewarding career path.  Akela’s personal goal was, and still is, to help youth understand the strong correlation between having a job that you love and being happy and fulfilled each day! In order to launch her vision, she enlisted the creativity and unique skills of colleague Russ White who was co-incidentally retiring from a long and successful leadership career in education.  The two believe in thinking big and setting stretch goals. And so an organization was born.


A key partner that launched the organization forward in the early years was the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario (ICAO).  The then CEO of ICAO, Mr. Dave Wilson had the vision and experience to realize that providing office space would literally “put the organization on the map”.  Youth In Motion has benefitted from a decade of support from ICAO. Twelve years later youth from Victoria, B.C. to St. John’s, N.F. have benefitted from Youth In Motion programs. 


Top 20 Under 20™ is Youth In Motion’s signature national program, and it celebrates many paths to success.  Our Top 20 Under 20™ Leaders demonstrate achievement, leadership and innovation.  Each award recipient has varied qualities and abilities; they are entrepreneurs, researchers and inventors, artists, athletes, philanthropists and community innovators.



Youth In Motion champions other employment-focused mentoring programs for youth with barriers to employment, as well as: 


  • youth-to-youth high school assemblies run across Canada to promote healthy life choices and personal growth, and
  • school-based workshops that focus on career options such as entrepreneurship, politics and civil service


Taken together, all Youth In Motion’s programs foster the continuing success of diverse youth and their important contributions to local, national and international communities.  In all programs, we foster a culture of volunteerism and giving back to strengthen the fabric of Canadian society. We invite you to view our impressive and ever-growing list of partners and funders because, without them, our programs would literally not exist.